The mix used is made up of 1/3 washed #11 crushed limestone, 1/3 masonry sand and 1/3 portland cement. No you don't wash the stone. That is done as a process of production at the stone company. I just wanted to point out that stone with dust is not to be used. Gravel is not suitable for this type of project. #11 washed stone is about the size of small beans and has been washed to elimate limestone dust from the product. Masonry sand is a clean sand used in mixing mortar for laying block and brick. Portland cement is raw cement bought in 94 lb. bags. The strength of any concrete mix is determined by the water cement ratio. The wetter you want to pour it, the more cement you will need to use. This 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 mix we are using is a very rich mix and will provide great strength even though it will be poured wet. You want this mix to look like pancake batter when it is done. If you get it too wet, add more cement.
We pre-measure all of the ingredients in 1 gallon buckets for ease.
Mixing 1 batch: Turn the mixer on. First put 1 gallon of water into the mixer. Then add 2 buckets of the stone. Next slowly added two buckets of the portand cement. (If one gallon of water is not enough initially you can adjust that amount. If it has rained and your stone and sand pile is wet you might even need to use less than a gallon intitially.) You must add the cement slowly or the cement will clump and stick to the mixer paddles. If at anytime you need to add water, add it very slowly. Then slowly add the two buckets of sand. Once again, if you need to add water, do it very slowly. You want the finished product to look like pancake batter.
Right: Wearing rubber gloves, take you fingers and adjust the amount of concrete in each tie mold by removing or adding concrete. Keep the mix down 3/16 or so from the top of the forms. That will allow room for the displacment of the mix when the rebar is added without over flowing the form. Also keeping the mix down from the top of the form makes getting the hardened tie out of the mold easier. Do not learn this the hard way.